College Council

At its beginning as Nueva Esperanza Center for Higher Education, Rev. Luis Cortes and President David Black formed an advisory body designed to develop the partnership with both institutions' best interests in mind. The College Council has been a policymaking and guiding hand that over the years has led the development of Esperanza College from its initial stages as a program to becoming an established branch campus of Eastern University. Over the years the Council has hired deans who could move this vision forward. In addition, Rev. Danny Cortes has served as Chairman of the Council and is currently Academic Chair of the Eastern University Board of Trustees.


Rev. Danny Cortes

Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff of Esperanza

Reverend Danny Cortés is the Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff at Esperanza, overseeing all educational institutions, workforce development programs, and some administrative function. Over more than a decade at Esperanza, he has also managed the National Programs Department and served as the Chief Administrator at Esperanza Academy. Prior to joining Esperanza’s leadership, he was a program officer at The Pew Charitable Trusts for 10 years. Rev. Cortés has also served as pastor of the First Spanish Baptist Church of Philadelphia. He holds a Master’s degree in divinity from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary.


Rev. Luis Cortes

President of Esperanza

The Reverend Luis Cortés, Jr. and the Hispanic Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity founded Esperanza in 1987.  Rev. Cortés has three honorary doctorates, a Master’s degree in divinity from Union Theological Seminary, and a Master’s degree in economic development from Southern New Hampshire University. He has served on many boards, including currently the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Eastern Regional Medical Center and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh.  Rev. Cortés has been on advisory committees to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and was featured as one of Time magazine’s “25 Most Influential Evangelicals” in 2005.  Rev. Cortés is the author of several books and has won numerous awards for his work.


Bill Hopkins, CCM

Senior Vice President – Finance (Esperanza)

Bill is responsible for all financial and accounting functions that support the operations of Esperanza. He has more than thirty years of financial management experience in private, public and non-profit industries. Prior to joining Esperanza in January of 2012, Bill spent twelve years as the Chief Financial Officer, Director of Assurance, and Treasurer of two international non-profit organizations. Prior to that, he spent ten years with the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of the Treasury and ten years in commercial banking. Bill is a native of Philadelphia and a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business/Economics.


Dr. Robert Duffett

Dr. Robert G. Duffett, President of Eastern University, has served in a variety of leadership roles in Christian higher education. As president of Dakota Wesleyan University, Dr. Duffett achieved national prominence for establishing the George McGovern Library, Museum, and Center for Leadership and Public Service. Dr. Duffett served as Provost and Academic Dean at Ottawa University, and as Director of Doctoral Studies at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Duffett attained his Master of Divinity degree in Greek and Hebrew from Bethel Theological Seminary, his Master of Theology degree in theology and communication from Princeton Theological Seminary, and his PhD in organizational theory/ management and historical theology from the University of Iowa.


Dr. Tom Ridington

Dr. Tom Ridington is the Executive Vice President for University Relations and New Ventures/Special Assistant to the President of Eastern University. Dr. Ridington has previously contributed to Eastern University as Senior Vice President and Vice President for Development, and he has directed University advancement programs. He serves as institutional partnership liaison with Esperanza College and Openseminary. Dr. Ridington completed his PhD at the University of Stellenbosch near Cape Town, South Africa. He earned his MAR from Palmer Theological Seminary and his BA from Eastern University. He has consulted with numerous nonprofits and NGOs in fundraising, strategic planning, and governance. He also helped develop several nonprofit organizations dedicated to deriving solutions to hunger, housing, and urban development.


Dr. Keith Iddings

Dr. R. Keith Iddings currently serves as Provost at Eastern University.  Previously, he was provost at Southern Wesleyan University in South Carolina.  He has worked in a variety of academic roles at Christian universities including Trinity International University and Indiana Wesleyan University. Dr. Iddings received his AB degree from Asbury College and his MDiv from Asbury Theological Seminary. After serving as a church-planting missionary in the Philippines, Iddings earned a PhD in Adult Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He has been recognized by colleagues as a practical innovator in educational programming and administration.  His leadership can be seen in activities such as the founding of the Christian Adult Higher Education Association.


Rev. Dr. Emilio Marrero

Former Vice President of National Programs (Esperanza)

Dr. Marrero serves as Vice President of National Programs of Esperanza where he oversees the management of programs, spearheads new initiatives, and cultivates the development and outreach of the Esperanza national network of faith-based organizations committed to serving the Hispanic community. Dr. Marrero served 32 years in the military as a Navy Chaplain. He served as pastor of La Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana de New Brunswick, NJ, was a co-founder of the Juniper Tree Academy Charter School in Yuma, Arizona and lead agent in a variety of community outreach programs overseas and in the local community. He holds a Doctor of Ministry in Religious Education from the Claremont School of Theology and a Master of Divinity degree from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, now Palmer Seminary.